From the Editor: The last editorial I’ll ever write for The Runner

My four-year term as The Runner’s editor in chief has come to an end. I’m sad about it. (Joey Lopez)

You don’t make it easy to say goodbye, KPU. Our relationship has been long — six years long, to be exact — and full of surprises.

When I think about my time at this newspaper, I’m brought back to my exhilarating first election as an editor in chief, caffeine-fuelled production days huddled around a desktop, dreary Monday pitch meetings on a desolate campus, and victorious award ceremonies.

I remember the thrill of going to my first student journalism conference, the regret of drinking so much at the afterparties, and the networking opportunities that got me to where I am now. I remember feeling like I was a journalist for the first time. And I remember the Tim Hortons lineup.

It’s surreal to think that I’ve spent a quarter of my life covering the things that matter to students, teachers, staff, and faculty at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. This community has become an essential part of my life, and to everyone who has ever given me the opportunity to stick a microphone in their face and tell their story, I want to say thank you.

Thank you to every contributor who came into our newsroom with a passion for journalism and every staff member I’ve ever had the pleasure of sharing this job with. It has been a privilege to get to know you and create this publication together.

This editorial won’t be a victory lap. I’ve done enough of those already during my time here, but I will say that I am profoundly grateful to have worked with The Runner and made it what it is today. When I first joined this publication, it was five years old. Now it’s just over 10, and I’m on my way onto other newsrooms. Cue the violin. They grow up so fast.

But since I am leaving, I have some words of wisdom for you: If you are interested in journalism, even a little bit, I wholeheartedly and unbiasedly encourage you to get involved with The Runner. This isn’t a promotion or a plea. I won’t even work there soon! The truth is that I don’t think I would be ready to join the workforce if I hadn’t been getting experience with The Runner along the way, and now that I’m leaving this job, I’m more grateful than ever to be prepared.

When I graduate this winter, I can say that I have spent six years in the community and on-campus news, serving as a staff writer, associate editor, and editor in chief for four years. During that time I’ve produced all categories of journalism from print to audio and video, and I have clippings in news, opinion, culture, feature writing, and investigative reporting. What that says to an employer is that I’m adaptable, comfortable in a newsroom, and able to quickly produce material that’s up to professional standard.

My peers at the paper will be able to present similar portfolios. And that’s just the minimum requirement to compete in our industry.

KPU’s journalism program doesn’t provide very much hands-on experience with employers. If you take the Work Experience program like I’m doing right now, you can complete a short practicum with one of the university’s partners. I’ve been paired with The Tyee, and it has been amazing, but I would have liked to do this as part of my coursework in my second or third year, not my final semester.

I think students need more time with editors, and they need more experience with working on deadlines. Our newsroom can provide that to you regardless of your experience level or program at KPU.

Basically, The Runner gave me everything I need to succeed, and I want it to do the same for other students down the line. Extra, Extra, you heard it here first. Tell your friends. Spread the word. In a few months, I won’t be here to constantly hype The Runner to everyone who will listen to me. And I’ll miss that so much.